Google: Government requests for user data doubled since 2009

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Google’s latest Transparency Report makes the scale of government data requests for user information clearer than ever.

In particular, Google notes that it has received nearly 26,000 requests for user data in the first half of 2013, up from around 12,500 from the July-December 2009 period. But as requests rose, Google also points out, it has complied with fewer of them overall, down from around 75 percent in 2010 to around 65 percent this year.

Not surprisingly, Google says the United States accounted for the vast majority of user data requests this year (83 percent of total requests, reaching nearly 11,000). That’s followed by India, Germany, and France.

The report is an interesting read, but it lacks details about the types of requests Google is getting. That’s not something the Justice Department currently reveals, but Google notes that it’s in the process of arguing for more transparency from the government:

“We believe it’s your right to know what kinds of requests and how many each government is making of us and other companies,” wrote Google’s Legal Director Richard Salgado in a blog post today. “However, the U.S. Department of Justice contends that U.S. law does not allow us to share information about some national security requests that we might receive. Specifically, the U.S. government argues that we cannot share information about the requests we receive (if any) under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But you deserve to know.”

More information:

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

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